Saturday, May 30, 2009

Setting Tariff Over Events And Peak Periods

Kathie Shepherd has been entrenched in the motel industry for many years.

She was a co-owner/operator of the Aaron Court Motor Inn in Hamilton for 10 years and a past secretary and vice president of the Waikato Motel Association. She has served on the national Motel Association of New Zealand as a board member, a member of the "Tourism Waikato Advisory Board" and The "Waikato University Hospitality Advisory Board.".

Kathie is currently a specialist motel broker for John Griffin Realty and we recommend that if you are contemplating entering into the dynamic world of the motel industry, you give Kathy a call.

In her blog "Motels" Kathie has done a post on motels setting tariff over events and peak periods and we suggest that you give it a read HERE.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Adverse Traveller's Reaction At Airport

In the motel industry, we are all aware that our guests can arrive tired, stressed and.....well a bit scratchy at times.

The following video demonstrates a traveller that has a somewhat adverse reaction after being told that she has "missed her flight to Wellington."

Hat tip: Trixnz (via Twitter)

2009 Budget - A Wasted Opportunity

National takes the Soft Option
Prime Minister John Key and Finance Minister Bill English, like all people who lack the guts to do what's right, have taken the soft option. They have decided to borrow and hope.

During Cullen's term, total Government spending increased in real terms by over $5,500 for every person in New Zealand. That’s how much could have been left in your pocket every year had he not ramped up Government spending. For a family of four that’s $400 a week.

And what did you get for Cullen's spending?

Some of it was wasted on the bureaucratic health, education, and welfare empires. Some of it was taken off you and then used to turn most New Zealand families into welfare beneficiaries under the Working for Families programme.

Bill English has continued in this vein, increasing health spending by over a billion dollars – an increase of around 6 percent.

And what happened to Bill English’s line by line review, which was meant to cut Government waste?

Well, he managed to find $301 million. Let’s put that in context. $301 million is just 0.4 percent of total Government spending. Was that seriously all he was able to find after Cullen increased Government spending by $18 billion?

National missed an opportunity to cut Government waste by scrapping some Government departments completely. The Families Commission, the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Charities Commission are obvious candidates for immediate abolition.

If it wanted a vision, National could have looked towards a future of low taxes, personal responsibility, personal freedom, and prosperity. Instead, it has chosen high taxes, Government ownership and delivery of social services, and more power for politicians and bureaucrats.

Give the money back to those who earned it, and encourage them to purchase their own education, their own health coverage, and their own insurance against risks like job loss, accidents, and sickness.

In the status quo, the bureaucrat is all powerful. It decides where your child gets educated, it decides whether your medical treatment will go ahead, it decides what level of income assistance you require.

The recipients of handouts – be they parents, patients, or welfare recipients – are treated as children to be managed by a bureaucrat who knows very little about them, and cares even less.

Is it surprising that within this environment, more money does not deliver better outcomes?

Sir Roger Douglas
New Zealand
Where's the Tax Cuts?
Well you don't get any, but here in Hong Kong this week we have just been told that our $HK6,000 tax cut announced earlier this year has stimulused into $HK8,000.

That makes it four years running now that I have received tax cuts.

So what's happened with Bill English's budget then??

You could get a similar amount - only if you want to insulate your stupidly large New Zealand homes as Nanny State deems you all too useless to organise and pay for this yourselves. I can just see a run on insulation installers which will push the price up and make the grant a waste of everyone's time.

If you are cold do what we do in Hong Kong at winter. Go take some of your HK8,000 and buy a very large oil column or gas heater.

Cactus Kate
Hong Kong
Do we ever learn?
The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
Acient Rome, 55 BC

Motel Guest Oblivious To Late Night Flood

One of our industry insiders told us a story the other day about an incident that occurred in a popular North Island seaside motel.

After a hard evening "networking" a guest that was attending an off-site conference arrived back to his motel room late at night and decided to try out the in-room spa bath.

After starting to fill the spa bath and undressing, the guest was feeling a bit weary and decided to lie on top of his bed for a wee rest before he took the plunge.

About 2-hours later, a resident in the downstairs guest room noticed water pouring from his ceiling and alerted the motelier.

The motelier gained access to the upstairs unit and accompanied with another resident was greeted with a wave of water as he opened the door. The bath tap was still running and the room was full of steam.

The entire room was flooded with several inches of water. The motelier and his accomplice were able to stop the flow of water, remove some of the furniture and mop up most of the water.
At some stage towards the end of the late-night clean-up operation, the hapless naked guest that was oblivious to the ciaos surrounding him was awoken.

It is unclear exactly what tone and lauguuge the motelier used, however it was suggested that the humbled guest join another conference delegete staying at the motel for the rest of ther night.

Apparently a $1300.00 bill was generated to cover the late night mishap.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Beware of Discount Accommodation Voucher Scams?

Judging from our web traffic, we can safely assume that Holiday Fever ( are again cold-calling Kiwis that are sitting in wintry conditions, fantasising about going on holiday in warmer climes.

We have noticed that we are getting a sudden increase in web traffic landing on our posts about holiday voucher scams: HERE and HERE

Holiday Fever have been accused of overstating the value of their accommodation voucher offer and there has been complaints from hapless travellers that find it difficult to redeem vouchers.

The accommodation industry relies on the public to easily access our product without fear. They should do so with the confidence that they will be fully satisfied and experience no hidden surprises.

Cold-calling scams that promise holidays, accommodation, meals etc that don't deliver, rocks the confidence of the public that may be wary of dealing with legitimate operators in the future.

What does the Consumer website say:

A Sydney-based holiday "club" cold called a Consumer researcher just two days after the Commerce Commission issued warnings about discount-voucher companies.

The Commission issued a press release asking consumers to contact it if they had purchased "free" vouchers or discounted holidays but hadn't been able to redeem them.

Our researcher was offered 12 nights' accommodation vouchers for AUD$199 (NZ$248) by the Holiday Fever Club.

The salesman from Holiday Fever Club told our researcher that the vouchers could be used in two ways:

  • To stay one night free per voucher as long as we paid for both breakfast and dinner for two adults.
  • If we paid for one night at full rack rate, we'd get the second night free.

Where can the vouchers be used?

Holiday Fever Club asked our researcher where she liked to holiday and listed nine hotels in which the vouchers could be used in those destinations. We then emailed each hotel asking if they would accept them.

We got a mixed response. The DeVere Hotel in Sydney said it would accept the second night free vouchers but not the meal deal, as it didn't have a restaurant.

The Noosa Blue Resort told us it would accept the one-night-free per voucher after paying one night at full rack rate, but didn't offer the meal deal.

The Anchor Motel Noosa replied: "I am not affiliated with this mob - we would not honour their vouchers."

The two Rotorua hotels: Quality Hotel Geyserland and Gwendoline Court, are owned by the same chain and replied to our researcher posing as a potential customer saying: "the vouchers are not actually vouchers in that they have no value, they are just an introduction to the hotel and the hotel is under no obligation to take them."

We say

  • Be careful buying these vouchers over the telephone. They may work for some holidaymakers, but make sure you check that the hotels that you want to stay in will accept them.

  • Holiday Fever Club pushed our researcher to pay online with a credit card. If you find this deal appealing, we suggest you offer to pay by some other means that'll give you time to check that the hotels recommended accept the vouchers.
If enough complaints are received, the Commerce Commission will issue further warnings to the New Zealand public and pass information over to their counterpart in Australia that will be able to take action.

The Commerce Commission can be contacted by:
PO Box 2351
Wellington 6140
Phone 0800 943 600

Moteliers Keenly Follow Trevor Mallard's Latest Gaffe

Has Trevor Mallard been wrongfully accused?

Moteliers would have had a tinge of satisfaction yesterday when it was reported that Trevor Mallard was unceremoniously tossed from the house by the Speaker Lockwood Smith.

Mallard is the pinnacle of Labour's "do as I say" hypocrisy and is most remembered by moteliers for making a prize dick of himself by attempting to claim his entitlement of a room at the Supreme Motor Lodge in Palmerston North. He does not believe in the rights of business owners to make decisions on how they run their own private business and who they choose to host on their own private property.

His parting words as he was asked to leave the motel was that "all people that run motels should be made to do a Kiwi Host course." Yeah right!

Yesterday in parliment, Mallard was mocking Education Minister Anne Tolley on the wrong spelling of the word "academies."

Mallard seems to attract irony. A recent post on his blog site "Red Alert" has the following words: denomitated; incoherant; speechs; catelogue; and Brethern!

What items have been left behind in motel rooms?

The article below reminded me of some of the weird and wonderful things left behind in our motel rooms over the years.

Our housekeeping staff were once horrified to find a shotgun hidden under a bed. The previous occupant was a keen duck shooter and didn't want to leave it in his car overnight so he tucked it under his bed. He forgot to take it with him when he checked-out and was somewhat embarrassed when we contacted him.

Similar to the article below, we once found a large sum of cash and cheques of several thousand dollars that were made up ready to be banked hidden under a bed pillow. We tried for days to contact the owner. After leaving several messages on his cell phone we finally managed to call him and once we managed to speak to him we can only suppose we caught him at a bad time. With little emotion he simply instructed us to bank it and hung up.

One of our housekeeping staff once rang me
in a distressed state from a room she was servicing and demanded that I come immediately. When I arrived she nervously pointed towards the bed where a baby was lying. As I slowly made my way towards the bed I could see that the baby was not breathing. This was definitely one of those OMG moments.

Standing over the bed I reached down and touched the baby's arm. Sure enough it has cold - latex cold!
This was the most realistic doll I have ever seen. The housekeeper needed a several cups of tea and a few smokes before she could stop shaking and return to work. I scurried back to reception trying to keep a cool demeanor, relieved that I have still yet to live every motelier's nightmare and discover a real body.

We have a rule at our motel that any unopened alcohol or pornography found by our staff is to be immediately taken directly to the reception. Being socially responsible, I believe it is my duty to personally look after these items and keep them out of harms way. On at least one occasion this rule was clearly breached.

We had a minister and his wife stay with us over a weekend to attend a church service. Upon check-out the minister handed me a DVD neatly wrapped up in our breakfast forms and explained that they found it in the motel room's DVD player.

Yep, you guessed it, The DVD was of the "adult" variety and obviously left in the DVD player by the previous occupant. I still have visions of the minister and his wife opening up the DVD tray to insert their own wholesome viewing only to discover to their horror a "stick movie" staring back at them.

I wonder if they just had a quick look...?

LEAVENWORTH — A Suquamish woman found nearly $1,000 in cash under her Leavenworth motel room mattress Saturday morning, and turned it in to authorities.

The woman was staying at the Evergreen Motel on Front Street when she found the envelope of cash, said Chelan County Sheriff’s Lt. Jerry Moore.

The woman, in a telephone interview Tuesday, said her parents raised her to do the right thing, so she did.

"The police officers were a little dumbfounded, but you know, I just couldn’t walk away with that in good conscience. It could be somebody’s life savings," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

She said she had ruffled the bed during the night, and when she got up, she saw something sticking out from the mattress.

Moore said the money will be held in the sheriff’s evidence room until it’s claimed.

The woman has requested a petition to claim the money if the rightful owner does not come forward, Moore said. If no one claims the property and the woman does not file paperwork to get it back, the money will go to the state treasury.

Source: Click HERE

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wotif Quiz Business Travellers have released a survey that confirms our coalface observations in our recent post HERE
"In most surveys you will find tariff is down the list of what a potential guest will consider when making an accommodation selection. We believe this to be a Pollyanna view that is far from reality. From our experience, we have found that location is the number one factor that is closely followed by tariff."
Motels are well placed to continue to deliver value to business travellers and wotif's survey reveals some interesting statistics that are relevant to corporate trade using NZ Motels.

21 May 2009
Business Travel News

Sixty eight per cent of business travellers surveyed recently said their Q1 travel was not affected by the economic downturn and another 55 per cent said they felt stripping travel budgets hurt their businesses.

Hotel reservation group Wotif, which ran the survey, said many businesses are turning to online booking options and searching for deals with value-added inclusions to stretch their dollar further.

“Gone are the days of big business travel budgets. Instead, businesses are looking for ways to save in areas they haven’t had to for a while,” Wotif general manager-Brand Megan Magill said.

“We asked respondents to indicate how important things like price, location and free inclusions are on business travel decisions.

“Price is certainly a driving factor – 82 per cent of respondents spent on average less than A$200 a night on their accommodation.

“When asked to rank what features are important in deciding on accommodation, price and free inclusions ranked two and three. Location is still the most important consideration in booking accommodation for business.

“When asked what’s most valued in business accommodation, free breakfast came up the winner, followed by free parking, internet connection and room service.”

Other findings from the Business Travel Insights survey included:
  • The majority of business travellers (56 per cent) stayed away an average 2-3 nights per trip.
  • 35 per cent travelled 2-3 times in the first quarter of 2009.
  • 64 per cent prefer to stay in hotels, although serviced apartments also are popular, with 20 per cent opting to stay in one while 14 per cent choose a motel.
  • Four-star properties are the favourite - 67 per cent said they prefer to stay in a 4 star property rather than 5 or 3 star.
  • 60 per cent of business travellers travel alone.
  • 24 per cent with work colleagues and 14 per cent with their partner or other family members.
  • 63 per cent prefer to take shorter, more frequent business trips.
  • 62 per cent travel interstate, 31 per cent within their own state and only seven per cent travel internationally for business.
  • 39 per cent add a leisure component on to their business trips.
The survey drew 403 Australian business traveller respondents and was conducted in April 2009.

Source: Click HERE

"Crusher Collins" Deals To Boy Racers

Motels situated on the country's main recreational race tracks will be relieved with the news that "Crusher Collins" has delivered some retribution from the antics of boy racers.

At "Motella" we almost heard the collective cheer from moteliers situated on the country's hotspots: Bealey Avenue Christchurch, Fitzherbert Avenue Palmerston North and Te Rapa/Ulster Roads Hamilton.

Whilst we believed that the recurring nuisance factor of boy racers was a Police resource issue, we can understand the human emotion involved with those most affected.

Two bills are proposed that will deal with the boy racer problem.

The Land Transport (Enforcement Powers) Amendment Bill and the Vehicle Confiscation and Seizure Bill.

“The Vehicle Confiscation and Seizure Bill aims to take the worst of them off the road by taking away their vehicle permanently. Crushing cars would be a last resort for only the most serious of repeat offenders."

"Every offence brings them one step closer to the crusher."
  • The Vehicle Confiscation and Seizure Bill will:Allow vehicles to be seized and destroyed as a new penalty for illegal street racing.
  • Allow vehicles repeatedly used by people with overdue traffic fines to be seized and sold to pay those fines.
  • Enable Police and Courts to target illegal street racers who commit offences in another person's vehicle
The Land Transport (Enforcement Powers) Amendment Bill will include provisions to:
  • Allow local authorities to create bylaws that prevent vehicles repeatedly “cruising” city streets.
  • Allow the compulsory impoundment of vehicles involved in illegal street racing.
  • Introduce demerit points for noise offences, licence breaches and registration plate offences. This will ensure repeat offenders will lose their licenses, rather than just accrue fines.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Accommodation Tariff Consistency An Issue?

Last minute accommodation specialist solely focuses on accommodation with accommodation providers presenting their best deals to customers over a 28 day window.

In their May newsletter recently released to suppliers, they tackle the thorny issue of rate parity.

In hard times this is a timely topic that the accommodation industry should be giving serious consideration.

Best to leave it to Managing Director, Gareth Pearce to comment further:

"I would like to raise this issue with accommodation suppliers because as the market has retracted due to the current economic climate, this has become an increasing concern. This issue has been bought to our attention by both our customers and our accommodation suppliers. This will probably not affect you but if it does, all we ask is that you take what we say into consideration.

So what is the issue? Firstly, from the customers side. If a booking is made online and then that person arrives at a property and views a cheaper rate advertised on a street sign outside the property then the customer feels like they have not got 'the best deal' when expecting that by booking 'online' they should have.

If customers choose not to book beforehand but wait until they arrive at a property they then risk rooms not being available. Some suppliers might point out that as a business owner they can display different rates in different places. That is decision of the business owner.

What we are asking is that there is price consistency in the marketplace. We would like to see online, billboard and supermarket docket rates the same to create price consistencies. Move street sign and supermarket docket rates up to equal online rates. This is especially important in today's environment.

More money can be made from providing price consistency. If a property receives a direct booking then the 10% not paid as a commission is retained by that property. That extra revenue pays for the cost of the supermarket dockets or it's straight into the bank as profit if it is a 'walk-in'. More importantly, the customer does not arrive into a property angry for the fact that the rates are different. This is what we have experienced.

As an example, Accor's Ibis hotels manage this very well. On an LED screen outside their hotels they advertise their 'walk-in' rate. This rate is also the rate that a customer would see if they sat in their vehicle and booked on their laptop at the same time, or walked into the reception area to book.

Price consistency is important and we ask that if suppliers are displaying street signs or supermarket dockets that they take this into consideration. In the end, more money will be made by the property and consistency will be achieved.

Cooler Weather Heats Up Debate

Global warming alarmists appear to be retrenching after revelations that the climate stopped warming of its own accord more than a decade ago.

It is clear that the government will confirm an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in some form next year however it is still unclear how much this will cost businesses and ordinary people?
The biggest fear for the tourism and accommodation industry is not global climate change itself, but the extent of government regulation.

Dr Muriel Newman is the founder and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research (NZCPR),
a web-based think tank that takes a research-based approach to public policy matters and encourages the free and open debate of political issues.

Dr Newman has previously commented on
Qualmark's "mindless and costly environmental doctrine"

This week's publication comments on a briefing paper for US government that suggests ways to “re-frame” the global warming debate in order to build stronger public support for climate change legislation.
"Re-framing is a technique used by politicians to make radical ideas more palatable to the public by replacing controversial expressions with language that evokes empathy, cooperation, and a sense of interconnectedness.

...Terms like “global warming” turned people off because they fostered images of “shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes”.

The report suggested that rather than talking about ‘global warming’ they should be discussing “our deteriorating climate”. They went on to recommend that instead of using the term the “environment”, they should use “the air we breathe, the water our children drink”, rather than “energy efficiency” which made people think of “shivering in the dark”, they should be saying “saving money for a more prosperous future”, and instead of confusing people with “cap and trade”, they should be using terms like “cap and cash back” or “pollution reduction refund.”

The report stressed the need for aspirational language and shared ideals like “freedom, prosperity, independence and self-sufficiency while avoiding jargon and details about policy, science, economics or technology”.
We can recognise that the language above is slowly filtering its way into the New Zealand vernacular and is being used within the tourism industry in order to qualify environmental doctrine.

Of concern to New Zealand businesses and ordinary folk is why is the government is still running global warming policies a decade after global warming stopped?

For more on Dr Newman's article:
Click HERE

Monday, May 25, 2009

Food Police Demand Change in Diets

We live in confusing times.

Most businesses purchase goods and services based on quality, cost and consumer demand. Apparently this is simply not good enough as environmental and social issues also need to be considered.

It has been reported that UK government advisers, The Committee on Climate Change wants the public to change their lifestyles including diets that is claimed to be a crucial element in cutting carbon emissions.

What does this mean for moteliers?

A staple cornerstone for breakfasts offered at motels is bacon - it's good news here, as pork apparently generates fewer carbon emissions than “high carbon” food such as sheep and beef, whose gaseous emissions pose a "serious threat to the environment."

Greenhouse tomatoes are another staple favorite for motel breakfasts, however not so good news here. These are regarded as the devil's own spawn as they are the most “carbon-intensive" of all vegetables. These should be banned forthwith!

Forget about offering alcoholic beverages in motel mini bars. Apparently alcoholic drinks are another significant contributory factor, with the growing and processing of crops such as hops and malt into beer and whiskey helping to generate copious quantities of greenhouse gases.

There were no announcement from UK's Committee on Climate Change on the carbon emissions generated by motels providing individually wrapped biscuits, however something tells us there will be a recommendation out soon.

Source: Click HERE

Motel Wake Up Call

Our friends at NZ Tour Map Travel Blog have written a post about the great bedside alarm clock prank. After being awoken one more time too many, a conspiracy theory has been surmised.
"The prank involves the setting of the hotels bedside alarm clock by the previous rooms occupant."
An unexpected alarm clock prematurely going off in guest rooms does happen and is a vexing problem. Believe me, this can cause great embarrassment for the motelier at check-out - hey the underlying deal with the guest is that we sell sleep!

Our staff are regularly reminded to check the alarm clock at every clean...but sometimes we can get caught out.

Is this a prank? Well, if it does happen, we suspect that this occurs very rarely.

The trouble with most alarm clocks is that if the power goes off the alarm will often be reset to midnight when re-powered. So, assuming the time gets reset (and the alarm is not) the guest can have a midnight rude awakening!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Is the government about to enter the convention business?

Whenever Prime Minister John Key goes off course from free market ideology the media hails this as "pragmatism."

The decision to commit $50 million into a national cycleway and today's announcement to entertain the idea of a nationalised conference venue are two of the most recent examples of Key's pragmatic thinking.

Tourism commentators will be glowing with excitement and the Labour party will be wringing their hands with unease as Key takes another jump to the left.

It will be interesting to see what the feasibility study for a large convention centre will reveal. We know that this will operationally loose money, however this will undoubtedly be buried by the supposed economic multiplier effects that are more often based on spin than on substance.

Feasibility studies are often oblivious to the negative effects of the higher taxes needed to pay for these facilities, ongoing operational loses and the opportunity costs of existing privately owned convention providers.

What is disappointing, is that government ventures usually wind up being net economic losses in the long run and Key is well aware of this.

4:00AM Friday May 22, 2009
By Tamsyn Parker

Auckland could be a step closer to getting a large-scale convention centre but even if work was started on it tomorrow the facility would not be ready for at least three years.

Prime Minister John Key, who is also Tourism Minister, yesterday told Auckland tourism businesses the Government would put $250,000 towards scoping out a potential 4000-seat convention centre for Auckland.
The Auckland City Council is also putting in $20,000 towards a feasibility study and $30,000 towards a business case.

Key said New Zealand lacked a large-scale convention and exhibition centre that was capable of attracting big conferences.

"As a result, we may be missing out on thousands of high-value visitors that could be interested in coming to New Zealand."

Business visitors spend more money than leisure travellers and stay longer but have also been hit harder by the recession.

April visitor arrival statistics show business travel was down 10 per cent last month although Conventions and Incentives New Zealand said recently convention business was down just 1 per cent for the year to March.

Alan Trotter, chief executive of Conventions and Incentives New Zealand, which is in charge of marketing New Zealand to international conventions, welcomed the funding saying Auckland was long overdue to get a convention centre.

Tourism Auckland chief executive Graeme Osborne said a convention centre had the potential to bring $75 million to $100 million into New Zealand per annum in new visitor spend of which $60 million could go to Auckland.

The convention business presently attracts 70,000 people and a spend of $250 million a year but there are hopes to grow it to $500 million by 2015.

Ministry of Tourism managing director Ray Salter said the ministry had begun researching the convention centre and expected to present preliminary information to the minister and council members by October.
The feasibility study would look at the demand for a convention centre, how much it would cost to build and where the money should come from to build it.

"The Auckland Committee had already done a lot work on it in 2006. We are really keen to update the market situation."

Salter said his team would be looking at potential sites as well as the cost of building it in the current environment.
While the recent economic crisis had affected business travel Salter said the study would look at the long-term demand for a convention centre.

"Even if we started it tomorrow it would take three to four years to build," he said.

Initial estimates have put the cost at around $280 million to $300 million just to build the facility. If land needed to be bought that would be an additional cost.


* $250m - Value of convention tourism to NZ economy.
* 70,000 - Number of people who come to New Zealand for conventions.
* $75m-$100m - What a new convention centre could be worth to the economy.
* $300m - Estimated cost of building a convention centre.

Source: Click HERE

Moteliers Continue to Deliver the Bacon!

Mike King suggests that Kiwis do as I say - not do as I do.

The best and easiest way for motels to add value is to up-sell breakfasts.

For the guest, nothing quite beats the traditional quality "home made" motel breakfast lovingly made by the motelier and personally delivered with the morning paper.

As the mornings get cooler, comfort food is the order of the day and cooked breakfasts are all the rage. This week has been a particularly busy week for breafast orders at our motel properties.

Has the recent antics of personality Mike King and a fawning media that have accused the pig farming industry ill-treatment curbed demand for pork products?

Judging by the actions of our carnivorous guests - NO!

Moteliers would be advised to take advantage of any momentary drop in bacon prices and stock up for Winter!

Motel Horror Stories

At Motella, we have a warped sense of humour and enjoy reading about the dark side of the accommodation industry.

We especially like to read selected guest comments in Trip Advisor. We have to admit that we prefer some of the more unsavory guest experiences that can happen from time to time.

One advantage of the internet is that all guest views and opinions can be
instantly broadcast to the world - both good and bad!

Trip Advisor have kindly complied the following list of guest horror stories for our amusement:

"We returned to find a live mouse swimming in our toilet" More

"Have you ever been thrown out from your own hotel room?" More

"The only natural light came from a tiny slit window which was at ground level" More

"Oceanview is like saying the room faces Europe -- it is out there somewhere" More

"The noise was deafening, we had to shout at each other while in the room" More

"They didn't have drinking water!!!! They fill you a little jar when you check in, and that's it!!!" More

"After one night the roof of the building flew off" More

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Unit Number 13

One of the many idiosyncrasies of the accommodation industry is to avoid having a "Unit 13."

As moteliers, it's not that we an overly superstitious lot. It's just that it would wreck our day if we were unable to sell the last room that happened to be unit 13, by offering it to a phobic guest. And besides, we like to ensure the comfort of all guests - even those that are superstitious!

How do moteliers avoid offering a unit 13?

Sometimes units are numbered in number blocks eg: 1-10 and then, 21-30. This is along the same principal of multi-floored accommodation complexes, where units on the first floor are numbered with the first numeral depicting the floor, eg: the first floor units would start from 100 and the second floor from 200 and so on.

It is also fairly common for commercial building high rises not to have a 13th floor.

Some accommodation complexes simply skip unit 13 by having unit 12 followed by a unit 14. Another trick is to have a unit 12A, but the trouble with this is that everyone really knows it's unit 13!

It must be said that many commercial accommodation complexes offer a unit 13, however why do many persist with a mystical avoidance? Surely in this modern world, we now laugh in the face of ludicrous and irrational superstitions.

Er, NO!

A recent Harris Poll (Forbes, March 9, 2009) found that of those surveyed:

  • 31% said they think astrology is "very" or "sort of" scientific
  • 44% believe in ghosts
  • 31% believe in witches
  • 33% said they believe intelligent beings from other planets have visited
  • 25% are superstitious about knocking on wood
  • 13% are superstitious about a black cat crossing a path
  • 12% are superstitious about walking under a ladder
  • 11% are superstitious breaking a mirror
  • AND 9% are superstitious about the number 13
Good grief! Maybe those moteliers that smugly persist in "hiding" unit 13, understand more about the frailalties of the human condition than those that don't.

Tourism Campaigns Sex it Up

As economic times get desperate, so does some tourism marketing and a couple of promotional campaigns amused me this week.

The first from Air New Zealand that will be embarking on its world-first Matchmaking Flight.

Desperate American singles can soon climb aboard an Air NZ flight departing from LA and get jiggy with single Kiwis.

Apparently the ultimate destination will be the "singles party of the year - the Great Matchmaking Ball" at Auckland’s SKYCITY Convention Centre. Can't wait!

Another cheeky campaign is promoting the virtues of ski holidays at Mt Ruapehu.

The multi-media campaign is inviting up-for-it Ozzies to ski at New Zealand's "sexiest ski area for a quickie."

The ads are filled with suggestive quips about erectile dysfunction, orgasms and penis size.

Nothing like a recession to get the creative juices going!

See more advertisements here

One can only surmise what the motel industry can learn from all of this?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Motella Assists Motels Boost Flagging Demand

In the third in a series of how to assist motels boost flagging demand, we continue to unleash ideas from our think-tank.

Our new mentors at the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel have given us further inspiration.

"Adding value" seem to be a catch phrase that is being over-used in our industry at the moment and we believe a fresh approach is now required.

We are now suggesting that our fellow moteliers ...offer less!

Confessions of ... a housekeeper

Sounds like the movie title of a DVD a sales representative would have hidden at the bottom of his travel bag ... but no, the article below was written by a hotel housekeeper.

It is a timely reminder that all commercial accommodation relies upon minimum wage staff to clean up the mess left behind by guests and rigid systems to ensure high cleaning standards.

Incoming guests should always get the impression that they are the first person to enter the guest room and there should be no evidence that anyone was there before them. That takes a lot of work!

For those of you in the accommodation industry read on...for those of you that frequently use commercial accommodation: skip to the next post!

By Allison Rupp

The best guests sleep in

Three simple letters could inspire the “Hallelujah” chorus: DND, or do not disturb. One sign hanging on a doorknob, and the day’s work was shortened by half an hour. Two signs? Pure heaven, but only if they remained there until my eight-hour shift ended — otherwise I'd have to circle back and clean the rooms ...

for more click HERE

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

National Geographic's Hot Hotel Picks 2009

The National Geographic is not only the source for naked pygmy pictures.

See what accommodation picks they are recommending to their readers:

Pain from price war widely felt

I must admit that I haven't spoken to any of our "motella" colleagues in Queenstown for some time, however it is clear that they have been feeling pain.

The decline in overseas numbers including the tour and coach markets combined with the over-speculation of accommodation development has been a double whammy for Queenstown.

In most surveys you will find tariff is down the list of what a potential guest will consider when making an accommodation selection. We believe this to be a Pollyanna view that is far from reality. From our experience, we have found that location is the number one factor that is closely followed by tariff.

Tariff comparisons are commonly used by potential guests to determine
quality and service levels offered by accommodation providers. Most consumers realise that a $165 motel room is better than a $125 room that is far better than a $85 room. They inherently realise that more often than not, price will determine quality.

The important distinction here is not the actual dollar value, but the comparison with other accommodation choices available. Some guests are happy with the cheapest in town, others prefer mid-range, while some prefer the top end.

Often the actual dollar value is academic. Mid to high end properties
reducing tariff en masse are not distinguishing themselves and are doing themselves no favors. There is a huge opportunity-cost of giving away profit to potential guests that would have been happy to pay more.

The herding mentality of the accommodation industry in some areas is dragging the entire industry down to unsustainable levels.

In good economic times, tariff will be widely spread with obvious distinctions between high and lower quality properties. The potential guest will easily second-guess quality and service levels by comparison and will inevitably choose an accommodation option that will meet their needs.

In not so good economic times, the spread of tariff offered by accommodation providers are clustered closely together as higher quality properties directly compete with lower quality properties. This makes it difficult for the guest to easily second-guess quality and service levels by comparison and consumer dissatisfaction can prevail.

The Hotel Price Index, which looks at hotel tariff for October to December 2008 compared to the same period the year before, revealed that Queenstown hotel prices declined by 35 per cent being the most in Australasia.

By Felicity Wolfe 18 May 2009
A price war has erupted among Queenstown accommodation providers as hotels try to keep rooms full during a recession-affected shoulder season.

The annual hotel price index showed in March that Queenstown hotel-room prices had dropped on average from $256 a night to $164, or 35%, against the worldwide average of a 12% reduction.

Queenstown Lakes District Council holiday parks manager Greg Hartshorne said the park was now competing with hotels and serviced apartments offering discounted room rates.

Moteliers in the area are also struggling as hotels and apartments offer cut-price rates.

While hotels discounting their rooms over the slower months had "always gone on", Mr Hartshorne told the Queenstown Times 2009 was "the first time it has ever been as bad as this".

"People drive into Queenstown and see signs advertising newly-built apartments at $88 [a night]," he said.

The Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park and the Arrowtown Born of Gold Holiday Park would not be cutting their rates, although Mr Hartshorne said they regularly offered a 10% discount to people who stayed for four or five consecutive nights.

The reductions were also affecting the resort's motel industry, Moteliers Association of New Zealand chief executive officer Michael Baines confirmed.

"Yes, and we have also had comments from around the country," he said.

While accommodation prices were holding steady in many areas, he said there had been pressure in Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch and Queenstown - the places with the highest numbers of hotel beds.

He described a market where camping grounds were competing with hotels for customers as "ludicrous" and "bizarre".

While he understood hotels had staff to think of, and wanted to fill empty rooms, he said once prices were lowered it was hard to raise them again.

"It is like going from a highly-valued product to . . . bargain basement," Mr Baines said.

"They might be busy and full but they will be going out of business."

Rather than dropping prices to unsustainable levels, he believed hotels - and members of his association - should be trying to maximise the value of what was offered.

"It's the value that counts, not the price," Mr Baines said.

Mr Hartshorne hoped Queenstown's accommodation market would return to normal pricing when visitors arrived for the winter ski season but said once expectations were lowered, it was hard to raise them again.

In January, Queenstown industry groups Destination Queenstown and the Lakes District branch of the New Zealand Hotel Council asked local hotels not to lower their prices.

Hotel Council regional chairwoman Victoria Shaw was unavailable for comment on Friday

Source: Click HERE

Motella reaches 20,000 visitors

I should go away more often...

While I had a short break and bonded with my 13 year old son over the weekend, our visitor counter went past 20,000.

Hey, it makes me feel good!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Roarprawn Gooone!

The VRWC (Vast Right Wing Conspiracy) has lost a faithful member.

The folk at the Roar Prawn blog are signing off after having a good poke at the hand-wringing pinkos and corrupt politicians.

To add insult to injury they are crossing the great divide and going over to the dark side. Yes, that's right! They are joining... *gulp* ... the public service!

After causing mischief and having a ball along the way, they leave at the top of their game with their successful blog achieving 1000 readers a day.

Best wishes from Motella. We would love to leave a key under the mat and light on for you some day!

Johnny Rotten Gets Socially Responsible

You know the world's in turmoil, when Johnny Rotten goes all politically correct

I found it amusing to read about Johnny Rotten from the Sex Pistols selling-out to the mainstream and fronting a campaign in the UK encouraging Brits to buy a local butter brand rather than New Zealand's Anchor butter.

The pithy TV ad is viewable below and is supported by a print campaign that directly targets the iconic Kiwi butter brand with the headline "Anchor's from New Zealand". Underneath, it reads "So, I buy Country Life cos I think it tastes best."

The underlying theme of the campaign promotes "air miles guilt" by advancing mindless protectionism and the socially responsible rhetoric of "buy local."

It will be interesting to see if this campaign has any influence on the buying decisions of Brits.

The "air miles guilt" and "buy local" themes are being used to the detriment of many other business sectors including the tourism industry. There is an irony that a doctrine of mindless social responsible purchasing by Kiwi tourism businesses is being promoted within certain quarters of the NZ tourism industry.

Thankfully most qualified consumers are not influenced by narrow minded "buy local" rhetoric and or "air miles guilt" and by their actions are more focused on cost effective, unique and easily accessible quality experiences.

If political influences can be discounted, New Zealand has a distinct advantage as a producer of butter and as a tourism destination.

Friday, May 15, 2009

See you next week!

I'm about to go "offline" for a while.

My son is at boarding school and I miss the little devil, so I'm off to spend some time with him.

I may turn up soon at a motel near you...

Motella's Environmental Commitment?

In the second in a series of how to assist motels boost flagging demand, we continue to unleash ideas from our think-tank.

We are now suggesting that fellow moteliers get into this "environmental responsibility" caper.

Apparently there are throngs of environmentally conscious guests out there, wringing their hands and craving to save the planet during their stay at a motel.

The following video is from the iconic Hans Brinker Budget Hotel that is leading the the world in it's eco-commitment and is is chock full of ideas to add to your business:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Promoting "Theme Rooms" for Motels

Finding the motel industry a bit tough at the moment?

At Motella, we have been investigating a few ideas that will assist motels boost up flagging demand.

As moteliers, we seem to be a repressed, retentive lot that don't like to stand out too much from the crowd.

We say be bold - go forth into new territory and turn some of your motel units into "theme rooms!"

I must admit that we will not be commencing a theme room project in our own motels just yet, however please
feel free to forge on and forward us photos of your completed projects. We promise to critique and publish your masterpieces for all to see!

The following ideas are for inspiration purposes (we kinda like the "Lover's Leap" theme):

Arabian Nights Photo

Arabian Nights

Features 7 ft. round bed with overhead mirror in a sheik's tent, AM/FM stereo, tiled whirlpool.

Caesar's Court Photo

Caesar's Court

Ancient Roman decor with marble whirlpool surrounded by columns and mirrors, king-sized bed with silk drapes.

Caribbean Suites Photo

Caribbean Suites

These non-smoking two-room suites bring the tropics to Minnesota! King-sized bed, light colors, tropical plants, refrigerator, three TVs, and a marble whirlpool create your own private paradise.
( Non- smoking only)

Casino Royale Photo

Casino Royale

Queen-sized bed with mirrored headboard, walk-up whirlpool, red/black decor, Vegas-style.

Castle Photo


King-sized bed in chamber, dungeon whirlpool.

Le Cave Photo

Le Cave

You've never seen a cave this romantic! 10-sided bed, oversized tiled whirlpool, dinosaur murals, prehistoric theme

Cinderella Photo


Horsedrawn carriage with Queen-sized bed, VCR, and "glass slipper" tiled whirlpool.

Cupid's Corner Photo

Cupid's Corner

Beware of Cupid's arrow! Neon, a pink marble whirlpool and bathroom with a glass block wall complement the heart-shaped waterbed.

Desert Nights Photo

Desert Nights

Sheik's tent, 10-sided bed with overhead starlight mirror, tiled whirlpool

Eastern Winds Photo

Eastern Winds

Queen-sized bed, Oriental black lacquer furniture and decor, lava flow tiled whirlpool

The Grecian Photo

The Grecian

Ancient Greece is alive! Luxuriate in a king size carved wood bed, relax in a green marble 2 person whirlpool, enjoy the murals of fountains and terraces.
( Non- smoking only)

Jungle Safari Photo

Jungle Safari

Escape to your own thatched hut with a queen size bed. Bathe in the large tiled whirlpool hidden in the jungle. Murals of jungle plants and beasts make this a real getaway.
( Non- smoking only)

Log Cabin Photo

Log Cabin

Queen-sized bed, hardwood floors, electric fireplace, screen door, oversized tiled whirlpool.

Lover's Leap Photo

Lover's Leap

Queen-sized bed, 1973 Oldsmobile Delta '88 Royale convertible in a secluded park, picnic table, park bench, sitting room, large tiled whirlpool.

Northern Lights Photo

Northern Lights

Igloo for two with 10-sided bed, tiled whirlpool surrounded by mirrors

Pharaoh's Chambers Photo

Pharaoh's Chambers

Pyramid setting with queen-sized sarcophagus bed, large tiled whirlpool.

Sherwood Forest Photo

Sherwood Forest

Queen-sized bed and TV nestled among the branches of the trees, tiled whirlpool.

Space Odyssey Photo

Space Odyssey

Re-creation of a Gemini Space Capsule with 10-sided bed, AM/FM stereo, VCR, Nintendo, 'moon crater" tiled whirlpool

The Treehouse Photo

The Treehouse

Queen-sized bed suspended by chains among the boughs of four trees, TV mounted in the trees, forest setting with tiled whirlpool.

Under The Sea Photo

Under The Sea

Relax in your 7' round bed under fish nets with the fish or in the large tile whirlpool inside the under sea cave. Blacklights light up the murals for a fun evening.
( Non- smoking only)

Venetian Holiday Photo

Venetian Holiday

Queen-sized bed gondola, murals of an Italian river scene, whirlpool.

Wild, Wild West Photo

Wild, Wild West

The perfect family suite with two sleeping areas; a queen-size covered wagon bed and a queen-size teepee bed. Tiled whirlpool.

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